Dr. Frank Phillips is First in the World to Use Augmented Reality Surgical Guidance in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush announced today that Dr. Frank Phillips, Professor and Director of the Division of Spine Surgery and the Section of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at Rush University Medical Center, completed the first augmented reality (AR) minimally invasive spine surgery. The Augmedics xvision™ Spine System surgical guidance system allows a surgeon to see a patient’s 3-dimensional (3D) spinal anatomy through skin as if they have x-ray vision. Using this new technology, Dr. Phillips performed a lumbar fusion with spinal implants on a patient with spinal instability at Rush University Medical Center on June 15.

The FDA-cleared xvision system is designed to revolutionize how surgery is done by giving the surgeon better control and visualization, which can lead to easier, faster and safer surgeries. Dr. Phillips reports the patient, who was experiencing severe back pain and limited mobility prior to the surgery, is doing well.

“Having 3-dimensional (3D) spinal anatomic and 2-dimensional (2D) CT scan images directly projected onto the surgeon’s retina and superimposed over the surgical field takes spinal surgery to another level,” said Dr. Phillips. “Being able to place minimally invasive spinal instrumentation extremely accurately and efficiently, reducing surgical time and complication risk, is critical to improving outcomes for spinal surgery. Traditional surgical navigation platforms have been shown to improve the accuracy of implant placement, however, using augmented reality allows for the advantages of traditional (non-3D) navigation plus the ability to visualize the patient’s spinal anatomy in 3D through the skin.”

The xvision Spine System – developed by Chicago-based Augmedics – consists of a transparent near-eye-display headset. It accurately determines the position of surgical tools, in real time, and a virtual trajectory is then superimposed on the patient’s CT data. In a minimally invasive procedure, the 3D navigation data is then projected onto the surgeon’s retina using the headset, allowing him or her to simultaneously look at the patient and see the navigation data without averting his or her eyes to a remote screen during the procedure. In a percutaneous cadaver study performed by Dr. Phillips and colleagues at Rush Medical Center, the xvision Spine System demonstrated 98.9 percent screw placement accuracy.

“When we set out to create a better navigation system, we knew it had to be intuitively designed to work within the surgical workflow and align the hands and eyes of the surgeon, eliminating the need to avert his or her eyes to an ancillary screen. Our innovative visualization technology breaks down the wall between traditional navigation and the patient,” said Nissan Elimelech, founder and CEO, Augmedics. “Moreover, the xvision Spine System’s 3D anatomy visualization allows surgeons to accurately guide instruments and implants intraoperatively, in real-time, while looking directly at the patient, as if they had x-ray vision.”

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